(Minghui.org) I’ve practiced Falun Dafa since 1997. I know from the teachings (of the Fa) that hardship is a good thing. However, when I experienced challenging situations, I was afraid and even used human means to reduce or avoid hardship.

For example, when I felt tired from work, I stopped and rested. I felt relieved instead of remembering, “... takes hardship as joy.” (“Realms,” Essentials for Further Advancement)

As I was reluctant to endure hardship and did not strictly demand of myself according to Dafa’s standards, when I had illness symptoms I became confused, and even lost confidence in cultivation. I had very negative thoughts, and felt as if I was about to leave this world at any time. Only after compassionate Master helped me overcome the tribulation of illness karma did I wake up and regret that I did not do well. I did not believe in Master and the Fa 100%. 

I recently read Essentials for Further Advancement. The principles of the Fa enlightened me. I truly understood that hardship is a good thing. Before I practiced, because of my poor health, I relied on others so I became fragile, and it became my habit to seek the easy way. However, this habitual fear of hardship became a stumbling block on my cultivation path, hindering my progress and interfering with my assimilation to the Fa. I experienced many tests and tribulations one after another. I asked myself: “I practiced for more than 20 years, but was I really cultivating?”

Master’s immeasurable mercy shocked my heart. Only by looking inward did I realize that I had not cultivated solidly, that I had not truly understood the Fa rationally. I had not ascended to the level of the Fa I should have, so I always acted according to human logic, and searched for comfort in the midst of hardship. I forgot that I am a practitioner, and I was unable to jump out of the human level.

Looking inward further, I found that I also did not read the Fa systematically, which was a big loophole. Master published “Realms” more than 20 years ago, why did I only enlighten now? I read Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Dafa, every day, and listened to the Master’s lectures every day during the busy farming season. I thought this was studying the Fa. I did not read Master’s collected teaching given around the world, and I seldom read Essentials for Further Advancement.

In the long march of history, we’ve reincarnated countless times. We are full of karma. Master has borne so much for us, but we have to bear part of it ourselves. Only by enduring hardship can we eliminate karma. Through enduring hardship, karma can be transformed into virtue. Master uses this virtue to evolve gong for us. So hardship is a good thing.

I finally realized: What is real cultivation? One must be able to endure suffering and not be afraid of hardship. If we can really do this, we can eliminate the karma we accumulated in our past lifetimes due to ignorance and delusion. Eliminating karma is painful. How can we eliminate karma without hardship? How can Master increase gong for us? Master’s power is infinite, but we also have to cultivate! 

Master said, 

“The cultivation is up to you, gong is up to the master.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)

Master has explained this principle to us. After practicing for so many years I finally and truly understand the profound meaning of this principle, I am ashamed that I didn’t understand it years ago.

I am grateful to Master for being merciful and waking me up, someone who was not diligent and thus remained afraid of hardship for such a long time.